Dr. Rich PattersonTeflon Coated

 When you were a kid, can you remember being offended when someone made a comment about you?  Maybe it was in the company of adults and your parents made a statement about a trait that you had.  “Oh, he’s just that way,” or “he won’t do that, he doesn’t like that type of thing.”  What did that do to your self-confidence?  How did it make you feel?  If you heard the comment as a child, you might have thought—”I don’t feel that way,” or “that’s not me,” but adults are saying it about you, so you either accept it or react to it.

Kids are insulted, disrespected, offended, hurt, snubbed and slighted many times during a typical day at school.  It may even surprise you if you could observe them say during a passing period at school. I would venture that kids today receive many more insults than even you and I did that their age.  It is important to help kids receive insults from others diplomatically and move on.  Stephen R. Covey in his landmark book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People reminds us that between a stimulus and our response is a space, and in that space, we have a choice as to how we respond.

Stimulus       Freedom to Choose       Response


African American father and son talking

When you have small children and they experience a negative stimulus, like someone hitting them—even playfully, they immediately respond, either with a hit back or by crying.  But as we grow older, we realize that in-between the stimulus and response is the Freedom to Choose.  We always have a choice as to how we respond, but we must teach our kids this concept.

Take some time this holiday and sit with your child, grandchild or another that you’re close to and help them to understand that they have the freedom to choose their reactions, even in the most extreme of cases.  This will help them to become Teflon coated and add to their resiliency in life.

This is discussed in my book, Making Sense of Life:  A Guidebook for Teens and Parents.  It is available now as a paperback, eBook, and soon multiple audio formats.

Yours for a better life—Rich